Goodbye 2012– A Reflection of the Past Year

2012 has been one hell of a year.  It’s definitely been a roller coaster with so many twists and turns, and yet, some where in the ride I became a Smith. I fell in love with my new family, I gained a whole bunch of new friends— best friends even, and re-found the “sparkle” in my own family. But as in every roller coaster, I hit some low points too. I experienced true disappointment, fear, a little bit of depression, and maybe even hate. I learned that you can’t just have the “high” without taking the “low” too. After all, The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” by Helen Keller

aki and tom mexico2012 started so promising  in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I was with my soon-to-be husband, my soon-to-be-best friend, and my-soon-to-be cousins. It was one of the best vacations ever. Everything was luxury! Then we came home—and I was hit with a whole lot of stress. Don’t get me wrong– this was ALL self inflicted, and I love-hated every moment of it. Some of it was unnecessary  such as gaining the extra pounds in Mexico so I didn’t fit into my Winnie Couture dress; and some of it was so necessary; such as the fight with Tom about my fake eyelashes I was planning to wear on our big day. What the heck— Maybe all of it was necessary because we did have the most fabulous, perfect wedding ever! The wedding day went on without a hitch, unimaginable FLAWLESS!

And so, I coined the first half of 2012 as the planning phase. I planned our wedding, I planned my bridal shower, I planned the hotel arraignments,  I planned the calendar  and I planned on the plans. I didn’t go out much, I didn’t celebrate my birthday; I just  worked on the plans. I was so focused, I realized that I should share our wedding day with a bridal reality show. I found a lot of inspiration watching other weddings and I wanted to give back. I submitted to two bridal shows–and even though both bridal reality shows were interested, they both wanted to throw out the wedding day plans, and insert their own “plan”. NO FREAKING WAY! I guess the networks share eligible candidates with each other, and many months later I received an email from a legit production company asking me if me and my bridal party would be interested in auditioning for a new bridal series where they would be filming the “planning” and the bridal parties’ interaction. They made it very clear that the wedding day was to be left untouched and filmed organically as is (B-Roll is the technical term.) Hmmm… they wanted my bridal party?  I picked  Jakeisha because she enjoyed planning and I wanted her to be my honorary Bridesmaid since she was helping so much. The other girls, I had asked a year prior, and Christie was our Cantor (and she planned our ceremony). And so the six of us agreed to audition–never thinking we would actually get the pilot— even though we did. Ten days before the wedding, I learned that you can’t always plan on your plans. My maid of honor, who was a flake, and I knew she was a flake even before this mess happened, disappeared and would not be reachable for 25 days! WTF? I spent a good, precious day being the liaison between Kelley and her family (normally a day is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but a stressful day focusing on something other then your wedding a WEEK before your wedding even with family is flying in and the celebrations beginning– seems like eternally!) I cried and prayed a lot, and worked with my very supportive bridal party. We, including Tom, decided that Jakeisha would be the perfect Maid of Honor, and I think I already knew this in Mexico, but I was hesitant then because our friendship lacked time. So, we were all set when Kelley decided to come back to society — and then we needed to do some more re-shifting. And this re-shifting was the documented portion that we all got to watch on TLC 12 times! Some of it fake, some of it true– but the outcome was amazing never the less.

The next half of 2012 was my roller coaster. If my wedding was the peak, there was nowhere to go but down, so down I went. I fell in love with my new family, and suddenly, they are all packing up and going back to the Midwest  It was empty. Everybody was going back to real life expect me.  And to make things worse, all the stress, anxiety, excitement had turned into one big sinus infection. So bad in fact, my doctor advised me to stop working out for a few months. It wasn’t all bad; that’s why it was a roller coaster.  I had to figure out who I was as a wife, and as a business partner to my husband (and I am still trying). I had to figure out who I was with my new name while still trying to be me . It’s been so great having brothers and sisters, and a huge extended family; but then it’s hard trying to figure out where I fit in because they all share time and memories. Sometimes I felt I was coasting, and sometimes I felt like I was inspiring. It was kind of a weird phase. I was caught of guard when Tom and I had our first fight as a married couple. For some reason I thought newly married couples have a honeymoon phase and don’t fight. We choice to postpone our honeymoon; and so we never got a honeymoon phase.

In November 2012 around the time the show was scheduled to air, a new wave of excitement was coming over me again. It wasn’t just me, but my parents and our family too. We were getting to re-live our wedding day. It was going to be fresh and new, and we’d get to see a whole different angle of our special day. Back in June, when the cameras stopped rolling, the communication and the information from the production company pretty much stopped too. We even learned that our episode might not be the pilot, and if that was the case, we didn’t know the order the shows would run. It was frustrating to say the least and every time I went in for a pick up, I would pry like no other for some information.  As a control freak, I did enjoy reading the different articles about us. Some journalists got to see a preview of the show and I enjoyed the commentary too. Apparently  a wave of emotions hit Kelley’s family too. I invited them to the wedding seeing I saw her family as my second family back then, and they were being awfully strange on our wedding day. I didn’t so much get a Congrats or even a hug from them– but I text her mom after the wedding and asked her if she has a good time, in which she implied she did. So, I shrugged it all of. And now, I couldn’t shrug it off because Kelley’s mom sent me a horrible text message. She didn’t like how I handled Kelley’s departure from society and she called me selfish. If Kelley couldn’t be the Maid of Honor, was I supposed to cancel the wedding? I think what hurts is that I was there for her daughter and even opened up our hearts and home to that family, and then they turn around and say they only came to our wedding because they wanted to do something different for a change. WTF?  H-A-T-E. One day, I hope to be indifferent– that’s my goal. I’m already indifferent when it comes to “Nesha”–who was also at my wedding. She tried to make it about team Kelley vs team Jakeisha. It was odd since she knew nothing (expect maybe what Kelley was feeding her.) She turned to social media and wrote bizarre things. I did take it personal, but I’m over it now. Maybe.

December 2012 after again being pretty high on the roller coaster, my 15 minutes came and went. I put my “bride” sweatshirt back in the closet— although my dad is having the hardest time giving up his “father of the bride” sweatshirt– he wears it everywhere, and I went back to being the newest member of the Smith family. I like my role. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and I’m even an Aunt!! Crazy— being all that and my parents’ only child! I think December was a little hard on both Tom and I. It our first Holiday as husband and wife, and we aren’t exactly were we want to be business wise. We did get a nice surprise—Tom and I were invited to Carlin Lake, WI by his family, and it was amazing!! Then, we spent Christmas eve with my family, and Christmas day with my extended family. Lastly, we had a very last minute birthday party for my man. It was fun!

And now the last day of 2012– a day to reflect. A day to be so thankful for all the blessing we received this year. What an amazing year; a year I’ll never forget! So, now let’s toast to 2013; it has some big shoes to fill… at least for us! xoxox

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